Thursday, February 24, 2011

twin shadow: forget (4AD/terrible records)

Nostalgia has never sounded so good. The debut record from George Lewis Jr.’s Twin Shadow is the most perfectly realised example of pop-revivalism you’re ever likely to come across. Both musically and lyrically, Forget is an album with its gaze set firmly on adolescence and the eighties. Yes New Order is in there, and Depeche Mode, but this is very far from an exercise in reference-dropping. It is a reflection on and a misty-eyed evocation of a period and an aesthetic.

The whole thing is put together with remarkable craft and maturity too. Listen past all the pop-hooks and sparkling production and there’s a real emotional weight there. The back half of the record is particularly strong. Castles in the Snow and Slow stand out immediately as highlights, but the final track, from which the album takes its name, is even better: a succinct and perfect summary of the record’s main theme.

Lewis understands that nostalgia is not about romanticising the past but respecting it, that it doesn’t necessarily relate to a better or a happier time, but an important one. ‘You heard your love again / You wrestled your nightmares / The sweat in your bedsheets / This is all of it / This is everything I’m wanting to forget.’ Twin Shadow’s debut stands out from the ever bulging field of indie retro-poppers who take similar material for their inspiration because it meditates on that material rather than simply mining it. Forget sounds natural somehow, the product of a man so deeply concerned with a particular and, evidently, a particularly difficult period in his life that his music couldn’t possibly have sounded any other way.

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